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The Stills one of 45 acts in TWSSF’s musical lineup

click to enlarge Out on a Limb The Stills are among 45 musical acts set to take the stage during the 10 days and nights of Telus Fest.
  • Out on a Limb The Stills are among 45 musical acts set to take the stage during the 10 days and nights of Telus Fest.

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The five-piece band just returned home after two big wins at the 2009 Juno Awards, for Best New Group and Best Alternative Group.

The Stills feature Tim Fletcher and Dave Hamelin on vocals and guitar, Liam O'Neil on keyboards, percussion and background vocals, Oliver Crowe on bass and background vocals, and Julien Blais on drum.

"We were really happy that Sam Roberts won two Junos, as well, because we share a rehearsal space together and we were happy that our rehearsal space won four Junos," Hamelin said with a laugh.

At the Junos, the group suddenly found itself at the heart of the Canadian music scene, a place they'd never really been before.

"I think it took a long time for Canada to sort of accept us as their own," he said, pointing out that they aren't really a new band.

"If you've never been nominated for a Juno before, you could be up for New Band," he explained.

They've been together for years and actually have the distinction of being made up of a group of friends. The members have known one another for a long time, with Hamelin and Crowe going back almost 24 years to their hometown of Lachine, Quebec, where the group first met through friends of friends and musical connections throughout town. They got together in 1996 just to jam, playing their favourite Clash, Elvis Costello and Police hits.

"We were really into... the more instrumental style new wave," he recalled. "The bigger ones."

They took a break from the band to pursue their own musical endeavours, joining other groups like Priestess before eventually coming back together to start The Stills.

But even before their Junos - the first real symbol of recognition in their home country - The Stills had gotten a taste of the major American music industry, one that was a bit sour.

"When we started, there was some bidding war to sign us and we went out to a lot of major label dinners and everybody blew smoke up our ass, and it was exciting because we didn't expect that to happen," Hamelin said. "But it's all sort of meaningless in the end."

Now, they're signed to an established indie label and things have really taken off in Canada. They released their latest full-length album, Oceans Will Rise , last August, and have been spending a lot of time on the road, touring on the new material pretty extensively.

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